Whereas the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration is responsible for conducting all public elections in one of South Carolina’s largest and most diverse counties.
Whereas the mission of the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration specifies the responsibility to “conduct elections according to Federal and State laws.”
Whereas the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration violated state law by providing an inadequate and an inexplicable number of voting machines to the majority of precincts in November 6, 2012.
Whereas a large proportion of the machines deployed to polling sites experienced systemic failures that further inconvenienced voters and increased the length of lines.
Whereas thousands of voters in Richland County encountered long lines and waits as long as seven hours on Election Day.
Whereas hundreds if not thousands of eligible voters were prevented from casting their ballots due to excessive wait times or lines that forced the elderly or infirm to wait in the intolerable cold weather.
Whereas numerous reports suggest that some voters requested absentee ballots only to receive them after the election if at all.
Whereas the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration staff was unable to offer valid election results in a timely manner and shook the public faith by "discovering" bags of uncounted ballots are releasing preliminary results.
Whereas every voter in Richland County has a right to cast their vote and deserves to do so on Election Day without undue obstacles.
Whereas the botched election eroded public confidence in the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration to fulfill their civic obligation to conduct smooth elections.
Whereas voters demand full confidence in their elections and will not abide another cycle with such poor planning and disastrous execution.
Whereas Executive Director Lillian McBride was operationally responsible for an election considered the worst in recent memory.
Whereas, despite having ample opportunity to explain herself in a public forum, Ms. McBride failed to accept full responsibility, failed to offer a coherent explanation for the election debacle, and failed to suggest any real solutions to confidently assure the average voter that the right lessons have been learned.
Therefore, we - the voters of Richland County - call on the Richland County Board of Elections to demand the resignation or terminate the employment of Executive Director Lillian McBride and conduct a full and open investigation of the botched election that affected tens of thousands of citizens - ensuring that such a travesty never happens again.
As the entity responsible for ensuring smooth elections that enable every eligible citizen to vote, I am outraged by the delays, long lines, and many obstacles that voters faced when trying to cast their ballots on Election Day.
Therefore, I ask you that conduct a full investigation with real, actionable solutions that ensure excellent elections in the future. This means making the case for new machines, if necessary, and considering a range of failsafe plans should the current machines fail so spectacularly in the future.
For the sake of accountability and the restoration of public trust, I insist that you ask Executive Director Lillian McBride to resign and terminate her employment should she refuse.
It's time to move beyond what happened in November, and hire a competent manager who will run smooth elections in the future.
We deserve better as a community, as I'm sure you would agree, and I expect you to do what you can to honor the public trust you've been given.